In light of the increase in the number of professionals working fully remote or hybrid schedules, many companies are now reevaluating their approach to training. Whereas teaching employees new skills and explaining company procedures has traditionally taken place on-premises, remote training has emerged as a popular way to convey this type of information to those working from home.
Remote training is similar to in-person training in many ways, but there are some important distinctions. Those considering remote training options need to understand these differences and how they could potentially impact the learning process in the long run.
- What is remote training?
- Pros and cons of remote training
- Most popular types of remote training
- Key elements of productive remote training
- Best practices and tips for making remote training efficient
- Common challenges of remote training and how to overcome them
- Kaltura platform for online remote training
- Final thoughts
What is remote training?
Remote training refers to all job-related instruction that is made available to employees online. It is usually offered by an organization for the benefit of its employees; however, some remote training may be independently sought out by individuals looking to upskill. Likewise, this kind of training is primarily directed toward those who are already performing their role remotely. Training sessions could be synchronous, meaning they happen live, or asynchronous, in which the lessons are recorded and viewed later, or a combination of the two.
Remote training serves a wide range of purposes. Anything from onboarding of new hires to high-level professional development can now be done virtually across long distances. There are many conveniences associated with this type of learning, but also many challenges, which is why companies are constantly reevaluating their training methods with an eye towards improvement.
Pros and cons of remote training
Ongoing training is vital to employee satisfaction, leading to increased retention rates. Extending the training remotely offers the following added benefits:
- Accessibility – Remote options make it possible for employees to receive training from anywhere in the world as long as they have access to the Internet. Global teams with members from different countries can train together. Employees can train with a specialist that they would not have the opportunity to train with in person. Remote technology allows individuals to transcend any limitations previously imposed by distance when it comes to their professional development.
- Convenience – The need to travel to a central location or otherwise plan around having to be at a specific place and time for training is eliminated. People can seamlessly fit training into their normal routine with minimal disruption to their workday.
- Flexibility – Recorded lessons allow employees to plan their training around their personal schedules. Video on demand (VOD) makes it possible for viewers to access the lessons at a time when they don’t have other obligations and when they are most receptive, meaning retention from on-demand training is often higher. Having access to recorded material around the clock allows people to rewatch training sessions or catch up on missed lessons.
- Reduced Costs – Employers benefit from saving on expenses associated with in-person training such as classrooms, travel reimbursement, catering, and accommodations for out-of-town participants. Plus, the same instruction video can be used to train employees in different locations and at different times, over and over again.
Despite these and other benefits, there are also downsides that come with training employees remotely. Some of the downsides include:
- Isolation – As with remote work in general, some people find the lack of face-to-face contact with instructors and colleagues to be a major challenge. This could negatively impact their motivation.
- Distractions – Being outside of a professional environment interferes with the training process for some individuals. Email, social media, family members, and pets could easily draw focus away from the training.
- Assessment – It is harder for trainers to ascertain the progress of the participants over a screen. Workers who are struggling to understand new information or skills may easily be overlooked in a virtual setting, whereas it is easier to spot those who are falling behind when working face-to-face.
Most popular types of remote training
Online courses – This type of training is most similar to a traditional class in which an instructor presents the material throughout a series of sessions. In a typical course, each participant’s progress is monitored to make sure the information is being absorbed. Online courses can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous courses allow participants to interact directly with the instructor and each other, but as a result, can only accommodate a limited number of participants. Meanwhile, asynchronous courses provide more flexibility, allowing viewers to work through pre-recorded content at their own pace.
Webinars – With a webinar, one or more presenters lecture to a larger audience. Unlike an online course, there is no limit to the number of participants. For this reason, webinars tend to have less interaction between the trainer and the audience, but some level of audience participation is usually encouraged and there is almost always a Q&A. Webinars can easily be recorded and viewed on demand in order to provide the same training to more people in the future.
Workshops – Interactive training sessions in which participants have an opportunity to practice what is being taught are considered workshops. Remote workshops allow employees to learn new skills by carrying them out under the supervision of an experienced instructor. This tends to be a great fit for learning new software, since everybody can share their screen to show exactly what they are doing. It can also be useful for other activities, in which an instructor demonstrates while viewers follow along remotely with their own materials.
Key elements of productive remote training
No matter the content, if it is being taught in a virtual setting, it’s always best to make it as engaging for the viewer as possible. This can be achieved by incorporating multimedia into the presentation. Video, music, animations, photos, and gifs can all be used to convey information in a way that holds the audience’s attention.
Taking this one step further, interactive elements are a useful way to draw the audience in. Things like live polls, quizzes, and games are shown to increase participants’ satisfaction with their training sessions while helping them to retain important information.
Team building is another key element to effective remote training. Allowing colleagues in different locations, especially those who are working on the same project, to develop stronger professional relationships is an impactful outcome of online training. Breakout sessions and group chats are great tools to utilize in achieving this goal.
Best practices and tips for making remote training efficient
There are always ways to streamline the online training process to make it more efficient. Recording each session and making it available on-demand, including to those who went through the training live, allows employees to review the material as often as they like. This also allows people to catch up with training they may have missed.
Adding subtitles or captions to the videos serves multiple purposes. First of all, titles are necessary for accommodating those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Titles are also useful for viewing training sessions with the sound off, such as when in public. Automatic subtitling software is available on many video platforms, even for live presentations. Similarly, adding translations to videos allows companies to use the same training videos in different countries.
Lastly, companies should always ask for feedback, both from the instructors and those undergoing the online training. This can be obtained through an electronic survey that is emailed to everybody involved. The responses will make it clear what is working well and what needs to be improved and may even provide helpful suggestions on how to improve it.
Common challenges of remote training and how to overcome them
Some challenges are inevitable due to the nature of remote training, while others can be overcome with advanced planning. For example, time zone differences can present a challenge for live instruction, making it difficult, if not unreasonable, for certain participants to join. Recording the training sessions for those who are unable to attend live is a good solution, but then they miss out on being able to interact directly with the presenter and other participants, so it’s best to take people’s locations into account when scheduling training sessions.
We have all experienced technical issues at one point or another when working online, and these could be especially frustrating when they interfere with professional responsibilities. These could be the result of a poor internet connection, the need for software upgrades, compatibility issues, broken hardware, and the list goes on. There is no way to completely eliminate technical problems, but preparation is the key to minimizing their impact. Companies should give their employees clear instructions and sufficient time to set up and familiarize themselves with the hardware and software needed for their online training. They should also provide technical support to help answer any questions and troubleshoot connectivity issues.
Kaltura platform for online remote training
The Kaltura Training Platform allows companies to deliver any type of branded learning session to their employees by utilizing customizable templates. These templates can be scaled and reused for anything from small informational sessions to company-wide webcasts. Interactive features like whiteboards, chat rooms, polls, quizzes, and multimedia playlists keep participants engaged. Meanwhile, moderators have all the tools they need to keep the sessions running smoothly, including an analytics dashboard tracking registration, attendance, participation, VOD metrics, and other important insights.
The platform is powered by Kaltura’s advanced video technology which delivers high-quality video and sound while protecting confidential and proprietary information through strict security measures. All sessions can be recorded to the cloud and hosted for viewing on-demand. Users are not required to download any software, everybody simply connects online, and technical support is available to answer any questions.
There are clear advantages to training employees remotely, but also ways in which the practice is not yet as efficient as in-person learning. Organizations implementing new remote training programs should carefully consider the pros and cons and have a plan in place for addressing potential problems. This will ensure a smoother transition to virtual training and help to create a positive learning experience for the staff.
Show your employees some love. Check out Kaltura’s training platform!